Friday, May 12, 2006
I go to the laundry to do laundry and nothing else. I don’t go there to seek long lasting relationships or anything. It’s a place for business for me. I am there to clean my clothes, so that when I do go somewhere, seeking long lasting relationships, I’ll look presentable and smell clean.
I know some people love to talk and it doesn’t matter where they are, subways Laundromats. It doesn’t matter, they just keep talking. They’ll talk to anyone. Anyone who will listen—or not. I haven’t really figured out if it comes from lack of sanity, insecurity or just plain old loneliness. You know, it’s not that I am against talking, or even listening for that matter. It’s just that I don’t have any tolerance for it anymore. I’m just done with it. I love having stimulating conversation, but not in between adding the fabric softener and spin cycle. And certainly not with someone, who is invading my already allotted time. It’s the little friendly talk that I hate because it’s time consuming and doesn’t mean anything.
“Hi, how are you? Fine. You? Good.”
You see, five seconds of my time wasted. Just completely wasted. Now, you’re saying to yourself, “What’s just five seconds?” I’ll tell you.
Five seconds multiplied by 50 people. That’s 250 seconds which is like 4 minutes and 17 seconds of my life and when you multiply that by 366 including leap year, that like 24 hours and that’s one day of my life wasted on people whom I don’t care about. No, I can’t have that. Not my life. No. Nuh-uh, nope. Not my life.
I am at a point where I can pick and choose whom I associate with. You know, no more of this mamby-pamby high school shit, where I’m hoping some loser signs my yearbook. I graduated that shit a long time ago, baby. No more unwanted people in my life. You see this above my head, it says “No Vacancy!!” Blink, Blink. NO VACANCY!!!!
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
I used to work in this Greek restaurant in the Queens, called Miki’s Coliseum. Well, it started off as Coliseum and then it changed to just Miki’s. It was basically a diner with fancy gold mirrors on the walls and a water fountain in the back by the bar. All that stuff you see and hear about Greek places like, “Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger”, or “Opah!” It’s all fuckin’ true. I mean every stereotype you can think of; it’s all true. I’m not saying that’s it bad, it’s just true.
My boss Miki was this stout, happy man. He would greet anyone who would walk into the place with a menu in his hand.
“Welcome! May I recommend the Pasticcio today? Oh, please make yourself at home. My house is your kingdom. The baklava is beautiful. You must try it. I won’t take no for your answers.”
Miki had a younger brother named Niki. Miki and Niki. Their real names were Mikolos and Nikolos Papadapalos.
Niki was autistic. He was capable of doing things by himself, but he needed Miki to watch over him. When Miki wasn’t around to greet people at the door, Niki would do it. He would say these things that would throw people off.
“Welcome to my mansion. I will let you borrow it for a few hours,” or “The minute you eat our delicious food, you will become Greek. You will be a part of the Papadapalos family.”
One time this guy comes in and he says, “Miki’s? What kind of food you serve here?” And Niki says “ It’s Greeky.” And the guy says, “Greeky?”
“Yeah. It’s all Greeky to Miki and Niki and Vicki, but I got to tell you, there is no Vicki.”
From that day on, we would all say the same thing. “It’s all Greeky to Miki, Niki and Vicki, but there is no Vicki.”
One day Miki comes in real late and he looks like shit. He just looked miserable. He said that Niki was missing. Niki went out, like he always did, to buy the newspaper. It literally took him 2 to 3 minutes. Miki said he didn’t worry right away because Niki liked to pet the cat that belonged to the newsstand. 10 minutes pass, 15, now 20 minutes have gone by. Miki goes out to the stand and he sees no Niki. He asks the newspaper guy if he saw Niki, and he says yes, but like a half an hour ago.
He said he searched the neighborhood all night. He called the cops and they were looking. Everyone who knew Niki was out looking for him. They knew he had to be around somewhere, you know, he just couldn’t disappear like that, but he was gone. Months go by and no Niki. Miki became real depressed. Sometimes he just wouldn’t show up. I started greeting people at the door. “Welcome to Miki’s Coliseum.”
He put Niki’s photo on the cover of the menu with the words, “MISSING, HAVE YOU SEEN NIKI.” The Coliseum was never the same. Miki fired me a month later. He said he didn’t like the way I was greeting people. It wasn’t too long after, that he closed the diner. I think Miki went back to Greece. I’m not sure. They did find Niki’s bones about 2 years later, in Brooklyn, in some Dumpster. Rumor was that they said that Miki did it, but I don’t think so. Maybe he did do it? He really loved Niki though. We all did.
by B. T.
My girlfriend is so into boxes. I mean she likes all boxes, empty boxes, to put stuff in or not. Big boxes, little boxes, all different color boxes. Boxes with no colors. Plastics, paper, tin. One time she bought a box made out of the skin of an orange. She loves them. I walk into the bedroom, and she has a set of three stacking boxes. Blue, Red and Yellow. There is nothing in them. They are just there. I knock them over all the time. She gets angry every time I do.
“I can’t help it,” I tell her. “They are too close to the bed.” She never moves them.
One day, I accidentally stepped on a little blue box that fell off of the coffee table. It was one of her favorites. I was so scared. I tried to fix it, but she would know. I ran out of the apartment looking for this stupid little blue box. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I mean, why would anyone sell little blue boxes. They are useless. You can’t fit anything in there. Maybe a piece of hair, I don’t know. So, I walked 10 blocks from my house to a neighborhood that I know my girlfriend will never go to. I put the box in 3 plastic bags and I threw it into a large Dumpster. I made sure no one was following me. I got back to the apartment and she was there, waiting. I acted like normal. I picked up the TV clicker and sat down. I tried not to look at where the box used to be on the coffee table. I was sweating suspiciously and abnormally. I was watching Magnum P.I. I tried to act interested in the show. I hate Tom Selleck. I could feel her looking at me. She then turned and went into the kitchen. I took a deep breath and prayed that I would make it through the night. If I made it through the night, then she can’t blame me for anything because it will be a new day. I survived, but I think she knows. She brought home 5 boxes last week. They were made out of wood. She put them on the other side of our bed. Five wood boxes on my side of the bed…yes, she knows.
By B. T.
I had this dream before my dad passed away last year. I was at the circus, and he was standing on a real high ledge and there was a swing going back and forth. He put his arms out and jumps and doesn’t grab the swing. Everyone gasps, but I remain calm. He then continues to go across the tent and starts flying. Everyone is cheering and this man next to me says, “This is great honey, we totally got our money’s worth.” Then after flying up and down and around the audience he busts out of the top of the tent and flies away. Everyone gives him a standing ovation, and all I remember thinking was, “Dad can fly? No one ever tells me anything.”
I always wanted to be a trapeze artist when I was younger. I mean, I really thought it was going to be my career. I would hang upside down from the monkey bars every chance I got, until one day I fell on my face and chipped my tooth. My mother was so angry with me that she banned me from all the monkey bars. So, I would just hang upside down from my bed when every one was sleeping. My mother didn’t understand why I didn’t have the same aspirations like the other 6-year-olds. They all wanted to be teachers, doctors, fireman, but I remember after I told the class that I wanted to be a trapeze artist, everyone came up to me and told me what they really wanted to be. They didn’t really want to be doctors or scientists. They wanted to be lion tamers, jugglers, fire swallowers and even clowns. I even remember a boy who wanted to be a part of the Freak Show. Everyone wanted to join the circus because you get to be crazy and free. No inhibitions what so ever. For me there was something about flying in the air, risking your life, but always looking graceful. There was this famous trapeze artist named Manuel Hibrosa. He always performed without a safety net. I remember the light was illuminating on him when he stood on the ledge. He always had this calm look about him. Like he was thinking, “ If I fall, if this is my last jump and I fall and die, then so it will be. I accept it. I accept it, if I die tonight.” I would always cry after watching him on television. My older brother would always punch me in the arm afterward. Manuel looked so beautiful soaring in the air. I just thought, how beautiful is it that you can surrender yourself like that. How completely unselfish it is. My dad was very unselfish and he surrendered a lot to my mom, my brother, to everyone and to me. He was my very own Manuel Hibrosa.
Yesterday on the train I was looking through a book that a friend had given me.
“The Undressed Art”, a book about why humans draw. Interesting right? Yeah, but I actually have to read about it and I haven’t really read anything in a long time
I am the type who will pick up a book and keep it on my shelf for later when I can have time to sit and read and drink tea and eat buttered bread
I took the book on to the subway with me. I was looking through the book and the guy to my right said, “What’s the name of that book?”
It took me a second before I realized he was talking to me.
“What’s the name of that book?”, he said looking at me.
“Oh , this book?” I lifted the book to show him, but I knew it was too hard for him to see the name.
“The Undressed Art.” I said.
“Oh. How many cycles does it have?”
“Hm, excuse me?”
“How many cycles…cycles. How many do it have?”
“Cycles?” I don’t know what he means at first and then I thought. Maybe he means chapters. I was about to look, but I stopped because it didn’t make sense.
“Oh, it’s just one. It’s one book.” I said.
I think he was asking me if it was a book that belonged to a series. You know, like book 1 of 3 or something like that. I don’t really commit myself to written series. I haven’t even read in a long time. I only go to movies. You know Lord of the Rings and stuff like that.
He says, “Oh. You know reading is good for the mind, the brain.”
He points to his head, winks and continues, “You know, I only go out on Fridays, the rest of the week, I read and blah, blah, blah.”
I couldn’t make out the rest of what he was saying.
I smiled because I didn’t care.
I thought, ‘I am never really going to read this book, but just by holding it, I can fool everyone, even some guy who talks about reading and how it helps the brain. He must be bullshitting me because what does he know about my brain.
I looked at the book some more and really tried reading the first chapter a couple of times, but could not get into it. I have no attention span. Across from me was a woman who was reading the NY Post aggressively. She had the newspaper so close to her eyes, I thought about what she was reading. Probably crime. I had a headache.
I closed the book and looked over at the guy. He was sleeping. I was relieved that he was. I thought I would have to answer to him about why I closed the book. I didn’t want to talk anymore.
I got up when at my stop and looked over at him. He was awake now, but didn’t look at me. It was if we never spoke
My day was a cycle.
I got off the train thinking about what movie I was going to watch.
One of the worst dates I’ve ever had was of course a set up. You know, a friend who knows someone who knows someone who knows nothing about what your type is but “pimps you out” because they want to be responsible for you meeting the love of your life. You know the kind of friends who have those speeches ready for when you get married.
(clinks on a fake glass) Clink, clink, clink. Excuse me everyone, I just want to say I knew these two were meant for each other when I set them up. Aren’t I great or what!”
Well, Eric and I talk on the phone and he sounds nice enough. He works in the pen department at a stationery store. I can see our kids now, MontBlanc, Waterman and Bic.
Eric wants to take me to a football game.
“Great”, I lie.
He says, ”Do you like football?”
“Oh good, cuz there’s this game I don’t want to miss.”
“We should be there at 5. Wear something warm. It’s going to be cold as shit out there.”
“I’ll bring warmers for my pom-poms.”
I get no response and then he laughs. “I am so glad you are funny. ”
“Oh, you don’t even know. How will I know it’s you?”
“I’ll call your cell phone when I get close to the entrance, or I’ll hold up a big sign with your name on it.” He laughs.
I get to the stadium and I swear everyone knows that I am there for a date. I have this look of frustration, like please, “Let’s get this over with.” And by the way, it is cold as shit. My cell phone rings and I am looking everywhere. The connection ends up being really bad, so all I hear is static. Then I see a man holding a big card with my name on it.
“SAMANTHA.” Oh God, please let someone else by the name of Samantha be here.
Our seats were way up high and you could barely make out the team colors. People are yelling at both sides, cursing at each other. Popcorn is flying around, the air smells like dried beer and nachos. Eric starts yelling, “ Control, control!!!” I didn’t even know what that meant. Then, he gets on the seat and starts screaming, “Botch it, botch it. Botch!!!”
It sounded like botch it. Do people yell those kind of things? I don’t know. I just want to go home. Then he sits and starts.
“I know this is not the perfect way to get to know someone, but I feel uncomfortable when it’s just me and the other person. Especially when it’s a blind date.
You know, I just thought, this is a good way for you to see me and get who I am without me trying to be fake. I love football. I will yell at games. I don’t drink. I love swearing. I like going out and meeting people. You look nice and I am attracted to you. I think we’re gonna have a great time tonight. I’m horrible at getting back to people. You probably won’t hear from me after this date. It’s just the way I am. “
I then said, “ I like to drink. Not a lot, but I do enjoy an evening cocktail. I hate when people don’t call me back. I think it’s rude and cowardice. Oh, and I hate football. I hate sports. I think people who dress up and yell at games are animals….and I love swearing…too. With all that, believe it or not, I am having a great time. And that’s who I am.
He then, sat in closer to me and put his arm around me, trying to keep me warm. He then pressed his face against my hair and breathed in. I could feel his lips pressed against my hair. He then started to sing, Bell Bottom Blues near my ear, real low. “Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you. Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back. I’ll gladly do it. I don’t want to fade away….I don’t want to fade away.”
I fell in love that night and that’s what made it the worst date of my life.
I like that the word “like” has no commitment. Think about it. You can like something or you can really like something or you don’t even have to like anything at all. When I was younger I liked colors and would see people as colors. Not skin color, but like an aura, but nothing mystical like that. When I met someone, I would see him or her as a bright orange, red or purple. I saw myself as a blue, a really magnificent blue, so naturally I really liked the color blue. I’m talking really, really liked the color blue.
I had to have a blue shirts, blue bed sheets, blue sneakers. I had to use the blue crayon, always. Then when I got older, colors were just there. I didn’t pay attention to them like I used to. I realized that stuff didn’t have to be blue anymore. There was room for other colors, other things, important things. Having a favorite color just became something really really silly and I didn’t think twice about letting go something that meant a lot to me. I still see colors around people. It’s just depends on whether I pay attention to it or not.
You (point to anyone in audience), I see you as a green. Not envy green. Just green, with a little yellow, but you’re mostly green.
You (another person), you are…violet with a little bit of red. Don’t expect me to tell you about yourself, like astrology. It’s nothing like that. It’s just color. I notice a lot of the time, especially in the laundry how people treats colors. Separating the whites from the darks is not enough sometimes for certain people. I like watching the ones who keep all the reds together, yellows together and of course the blues together. Then there are the ones who just pile everything together. They don’t appreciate colors.
(Looking at someone in audience) You know, you should really try wearing something blue. You’d be amazed at what happens to a person when they wear the color that was meant for them. It’s really magnificent.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
I used to deliver newspapers to peoples houses...well they weren’t really newspapers, they were those coupon papers for the local supermarket. I would roll them up and stick them in plastic bags. Every now and then I would put a dirty Odor Eater or a condom- unused of course, in the bag, you know, like a Cracker Jack surprise. I don’t think anyone really looks at the coupons unless you’re old. The deals, the deals, they’re always looking for the deals. I just steal the stuff I need. Well, not really…the mick lets me take what I need every once in awhile. Hey, one time I saw this guy burn up in a vestibule. He was some homeless guy that either someone set fire or fell asleep with a cigarette. I remember getting to the building where I was just gonna hurl the bag at the door and I see a flame through the little windows doors have. So, I get up close and see something burning. It didn’t even look like a person. I saw some fuckin’ hipster on his phone and told him to call the police. Then I just ran my fingers down every buzzer to let the people in the building know. Weird thing is that no one came out. I mean it was a small building, like 4 or 5 apartments, but I couldn’t believe no one was home. I rang the buzzers a couple of times, just in case. Then the firemen show up and I felt like a little kid watching them, you know, and they kick the door in and pull the burning thing out. It was a guy. His legs looked how charcoal gets when it holds the fire in. Then the guy coughs or something and just smoke comes out of his mouth. His face was completely burned, black. It turned out to be some neighborhood drunk. I seen him a couple of times on the street. I think he died. Sucks, you know. The cops started questioning the fuckin’ hipster. I just walked away. I went over to the BQE, where it looks over one of the Watchtower buildings, and I threw all the bags on to one of the roofs. Fuckin’ Jehovah Witnesses. Then I went to the promenade and fell asleep on one of the benches. The Brooklyn Bridge is really nice at night. Real pretty.